Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon welcomed new hires to her department today, awarded promotions and a Life-Saving Medal. Family, friends and colleagues of the awardees were at hand in the BOS Chambers to witness the ceremony.

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Life Saving Commendation to CO James Mason

On February 18, 2023, an inmate attempted to commit suicide by hanging. At approximately 2234 hours, Officer James Mason was conducting an hourly safety check in A pod, A section. When he looked into cell A118, he saw an Incarcerated Person (IP) with a sheet tied around his neck and hanging from the light fixture. Officer Mason was about to run to get the safety cutters when he noticed the IP’s body going limp. He called a “medical emergency, one hanging,” entered the cell, grabbed the IP under his armpits, and lifted him up to relieve the tension of the sheet off his neck. While continuing to hold the IP up, Officer Mason also attempted to undo the knot after noticing it was too tight. While he was doing this, staff arrived with the safety cutters. After cutting the sheet, the IP was lowered to the ground. Once Officer Mason had a better hold on the IP’s arms, he assisted the IP to his feet and out to the dayroom for a medical evaluation.

Officer James Mason and Sheriff Shannan Moon
Officer James Mason and Sheriff Shannan Moon

Sheriff Moon stated, “While there is always the possibility that someone under our supervision and in our care may attempt to commit suicide, this is not something that our correctional staff deals with in their normal course of duties. When this type of incident occurs, it can be emotionally difficult to deal with, as very few people encounter situations like this in their careers or personal lives. Officer Mason’s quick thinking, professionalism, and compassion in this situation made me very proud, and I would like to recommend an evaluation for a Life-Saving Medal. The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Life-Saving Medal is reserved for those situations in which there is a documented case of a life being saved in a circumstance outside the normal course of duty.”

Friends and family at the NCSO swearing-in ceremony on April 14, 2023.

New Hires

Sheriff Moon welcomed Legal Office Assistant Samantha Davis, Correctional Officer Tyler Wells, Animal Control Officer Cory James, Correctional Officer Robert R. Vaughn Jr. and Sheriff’s Dispatcher Grace Van Winkle.


Promotions were presented to Supervising Dispatcher Danya Deane, Senior Legal Assistant Sheree Toller and Sheriff’s Lieutenant Russell “Rusty” Greene.